Purpose of Compare and Contrast Essay Writing

The purpose of comparison in writing is to discuss aspects of two elements, which are similar. The purpose of contrast, on the other hand, is to discuss the differences between the two elements. Compare and contrast essay analyzes two aspects of a story while comparing them or contrasting them at the same time.

Compare and contrast essay purpose is to bring out similarities and differences which are not necessarily obvious. The similarities and differences brought out in the essay may be far from what the audience expected. This enables the audience to see the elements being compared and contrasted from a different dimension.

Compare and contrast essay also tests the students’ understanding of topics. You cannot make an effective and meaningful comparison unless you have a deep understanding of them. The best way to choose items to compare and contrast in an essay is by selecting items, which have a meaningful connection though not subtle.

Is It Easy to Compare Something?

The thought of comparing things might seem like an easy task in someone’s head. You may think all you have to do is to support statements you want to compare and finally come to your conclusion. This is not always the case. There are some things you may find it easier to compare while others may be more complicated.

Comparing two items, which are in front of you like an orange, and a lemon may be an easy task.  All you have to do is make a conclusion of the comparison based on the physical appearance and the taste of the two fruits.

However, things may not be very easy when you are asked to compare characters, plots, and writing styles of different stories. The similarities and differences may not be obvious. You have to read the story and make a connection before you begin comparing and contrasting.

This may be an exhausting task, and if you are not careful, you may not come up with any difference or similarities.

Interesting contrast and compare essay is the one which compares elements that you may see no similarities or difference. This will require a lot of analysis and time. However, an obvious comparison of elements in a story will make your essay less interesting. This kind of comparison will, however, require less effort.

A comparison may be either difficult or easy depending on the task you have at hand and the quality of work you need to offer.

How to Compare Two Stories Step by Step

Comparing two stories may seem like a hard task. You might even not know where to start from or even how to compare. However, knowing the steps to follow will make your work easier. In order to make a good comparison of elements in two stories you have to answer these four questions;

The purpose of comparison

Knowing the purpose of comparison in writing is the first guide when comparing elements in two stories. The purpose of comparison is to find out meaningful similarities and differences in the story that will bring out unexpected elements of the stories. The other purpose is to test your understanding of the problem. You have to read and understand the stories carefully. Afterward, make an analysis of elements with a meaningful connection.

The reasons for your work

After you have picked which elements you want to compare in the two stories, you have to answer why you chose to compare the specific elements. You have to illustrate which aspects you have chosen will surely bring out in the story. You have to show the similarities and differences between the elements clearly. You also have to show how the similarities and differences of the elements you have chosen fulfill the purpose of comparison.

The object of your essay

Be clear of what aspects of the elements you are comparing. You have to be specific on what aspects you want to compare. You should also give an explanation of why you decided on the aspects.

The technics you are going to use

Decide on how you are going to compare your elements.

  • Comparing plots

The plot of a story is the series of incidents that occur throughout the story. When comparing plots, you should base your emphasis on the themes and settings. Stories may seem similar in many ways; however, the plots of the stories may be different. For example, two stories may be about finding a missing child. In one of the stories, a parent may embark on a journey to find a missing child who got lost as a baby. The other story may be about a teenager who realized he has been adopted under mysterious circumstances, discovered he has been missing all along and goes to find his parents.

These stories may seem to be the same, but they have different plots.  There are many themes in the two stories, which may be similar or different. The story may also have settings, which are different or similar in a subtle way.

It is also important to point out the comparisons and contrast in the story, which will be meaningful and will make the comparison interesting. You should also explain the reasons you have chosen to compare and contrast the themes and the plots of the stories.

  • Compare characters

When comparing characters in two stories, it is important to find out characters that have a connection. You should also explain what aspect the characters you are comparing and contrasting bring out. You can make a comparison of the main characters of the story or extend your comparison to the minor characters in the stories.

When comparing two characters in a story, it is important to state if the characters are important to the stories or if the story can do without the characters. To determine how characters compare and contrast, you should analyze the dialogue the characters have, the decisions they make, and how they interact with other people.

  • Comparing writing styles

You can use writing styles in order to make a comparison between the two stories. The comparison in writing styles between the two stories is made by comparing and contrasting the writing styles of the authors throughout the story. In order to make an effective comparison between the writing styles of different stories, you should be a keen reader.

While comparing writing styles between two stories you should always state what theme the similar or different writing styles bring out. You should also acknowledge which author had a better writing style and which writing style you enjoyed more.

Example of Two Stories Comparison

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee versus “The boy who dared” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a fiction story that was told through the eye of a young girl Scout Finch. She recalls her father, who was an attorney, defending a black man who was unjustly accused of beating and raping a white woman. The boy who dared is a real story about Helmuth; a young boy living in Germany at the time of Hitler’s reign. He is not Jewish, but he fights against all the odds to defend what he believes in. He eventually gets beheaded.

Compare and contrast between the two main characters

Atticus Finch and Helmuth are the main characters in the two stories. They are both essential for the story, and the story will not exist without them.

  • Both Atticus Finch and Helmuth are brave. Atticus Finch dared to defy racism at the time where racism was at the pick, and he could face racial backslash. Helmuth Hubener defies the Nazi knowing the consequence could be death.
  • Both Atticus Finch and Helmuth Hubener are morally upright. They believe and stand for what is right. Atticus Finch believes that people should not be judged by the color of their skin. He defends a black man whom he believes was innocent. Helmuth Hubener, on the other hand, believes that Hitler is sending the country in a darker place through unnecessary war.


  • On the one hand, Helmuth Hubener is naive and, on the other hand, Atticus Finch is experienced. Helmuth Hubener blindly trusts people. He trusts his friend will help him to translate some words in French. His friend betrays him, and he ends up getting arrested. Atticus Finch, on the other hand, is careful about his goings. He is wise and aware; he cannot trust anyone to help me.

Comparing plots

  • The main theme in both “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Boy Who Dared” is courage to make a change. In both the stories, it is not enough to want change, you should bravely fight for the change.
  • The setting of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is in a small town governed by social class and racism. On the other hand, the settings of “The Boy Who Dared” rotates around the flat in which his family lived, the ruined town, and the concentration camp with very poor sanitation.